Setting up a tire tubeless allows you to run it without an inner tube. This popular system offers many advantages: lower weight, more puncture-resistance and better grip. We are going to show you how easy this process is and promise you’ll get it done without any of the mess.
There really is no cheaper, easier and more effective upgrade for your bike than setting up your wheels tubeless. However many people still seem to prefer using inner tubes, often because they dread the installation process. We’ll show you how easy it can be and promise you won’t cover your living room in tire sealant. You won’t even have to buy an air compressor!
- Valve cores
- Valve core remover
- Tire levers (if necessary)
Before setting up your tires tubeless you have to make sure both your rims and tires are tubeless-ready. Good news is, most current tire and rim models are. If your rims are older you’ll have to use a special tubeless tape. In this tutorial we didn’t have to.
Now, using both hands to press the whole tire into the rim. To keep the tire deep in the rim bed, you can place the wheel on your thighs or on the floor. The closer you get to the valve, the harder it will get. If you struggle to pull the last bit of tire over the rim, use tire levers –real pros, however, do this with their bare hands! If you use a tire lever, make sure the tire doesn’t pop off the rim on the opposite side.
If you did everything right your tire should be sitting nicely on the rim – and without any of the mess! If that’s not the case, here are a few more tips.
3 handy tips to set up a stubborn tire
If the tire doesn’t snap into the bead lock when you pump it up these three hacks might help:
- Pump up the tire WITHOUT the valve core to increase airflow — this system works miracles. When removing the pump insert the valve core straight away to prevent the air from coming out.
- Rub some Schwalbe Easy-Fit (or just some soapy water) into the sidewalls. This helps the tire to slip and snap into the rim bead.
- Use a tubeless inflator. There are a wide range of different models available on the market, but the idea is always the same: filling up a high-pressure air reservoir, and then releasing all of the pressure at once to pump up the tire.
With particularly stubborn tires we recommend a combination of all three of the above.
Adding sealant through the valve stem:
- Install the tire on the rim completely.
- Remove the valve-core with the core-tool.
- … and inject the sealant through the valve-stem. Remember, in this case more is more! If you save on sealant, you’re saving in the wrong place and compromising on puncture protection. We recommend using 30-45 ml of sealant per wheel, depending on width of the tire. Be aware! Some sealants can’t be injected through the valve stem, please check your manufacturer’s instructions.
- Place the valve-core into the stem and tighten it.
- And… pump it up! Inflate your tire with fast pump strokes.
Important sealant advice
- Not every tire sealant agrees with CO2 cartridges. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you use latex-based tire sealant you should change it regularly. After a while those sealants create lumps inside the tire and the remaining liquid will no longer seal properly. Some brands also offer latex-free tire sealant.
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Words: Christoph Bayer, Manuel Buck Photos: Valentin Rühl